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Vesely v. Armslist LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

August 12, 2014

ALEX VESELY, individually and as special administrator and brother of JITKA VESEL (Deceased), Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ARMSLIST LLC, an Oklahoma Limited Liability Company, Defendant-Appellee

Argued: May 29, 2014.

Page 662

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:13-cv-00607 -- Charles R. Norgle, Judge.

For ALEX VESELY, individually and as special administrator and brother of JITKA VESELY (Deceased), Plaintiff - Appellant: Alexander David Marks, Attorney, Jay Dobrutsky, Attorney, Burke, Warren, Mackay & Serritella, P.C., Chicago, IL.

For ARMSLIST LLC, an Oklahoma Limited Liability Company, Defendant - Appellee: Andrew Arthur Lothson, Attorney, James B. Vogts, Attorney, Swanson, Martin & Bell, Llp, Chicago, IL.

Before BAUER, KANNE, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 663

Kanne, Circuit Judge.

Jitka Vesel (" Jitka" ) was shot with a handgun that was illegally purchased by Demetry Smirnov who found the weapon available for purchase on Armslist.com (" Armslist" ), a website that facilitates the sale of guns between private owners. Alex Vesely (" Alex" ) brought this action on her behalf, alleging that Armslist's negligence in facilitating the sale proximately caused her death.[1] The district court held that Armslist owed no duty to Jitka and therefore could not be liable for the actions of Smirnov. For the following reasons, we affirm.

I. Background

In 2011, Jitka was shot and killed by Demetry Smirnov, a Russian immigrant residing in Canada. Smirnov had met Jitka online and sought to develop a romantic

Page 664

relationship with Jitka, but she spurned his advances.

In response, Smirnov got on Armslist.com to obtain a handgun. Armslist provides owners of firearms and other outdoor gear the opportunity to post classified advertisements to sell their goods. Smirnov came across an advertisement posted by Benedict ...


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